Saletan's Big Idea for the Dems

Monday, November 20, 2006

Saletan's Big Idea for the Dems's William Saletan says Democrats "need an idea" that can enable them to take the offensive in January and build on the gains they made among cultural conservative voters. And he proposes this idea:
If ever there were an issue on which Democrats looked amoral, this is it. Abortion as birth control. Culture of life. If it feels good, do it.

Republicans use this kind of language to make Democrats unpalatable even to voters who don't think abortion should be outlawed. Polls show that Democrats can win these voters back. And there's no better place to rebrand yourself than on the issue where you originally got branded.

The remedy is simple: Democrats are for reducing abortion without banning it. The most effective way, short of abstinence, is through birth control. Birth control isn't about doing what feels good. It's about taking responsibility.

... Democratic politicians worry that if they target the abortion rate, they'll offend pro-choice groups. But pro-choice groups are already heading in this direction.

... Last month, Planned Parenthood's new president called for an increase in Medicaid coverage of contraception, pointing out that it "would result in the prevention of nearly 500,000 unintended pregnancies and 200,000 abortions annually."

... Anyone who thinks such talk of right and wrong betrays reproductive freedom is illiterate. Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand. That's how the word planned ended up in Planned Parenthood.

With culturally conservative Democrats gaining seats in Congress and clout in their party, now's the time to move on this issue. It's Republicans who stand in the way.

Guess who just got appointed by President Bush to run federal family-planning programs? The medical director of a pregnancy counseling service that prohibits its employees from referring patients to birth control providers. When those women get pregnant again and show up for their abortions, I'm sure Bush and his man will deny responsibility. As usual.

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